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Christmas Treats In July

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Are you looking for a sweet treat this festive month?

Celebrate Christmas this summer with these seven delicious recipes!

1. Christmas Gelatin Layers

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  • Ingredients:
    • Five boxes of jello: 3 red and 2 green, two cans of sweetened condensed milk, measure a cup of boiling water, cherries, whip cream, mint leafs
  • Directions:
    • Pour a cup of boiling water for each individual gelatin mixture
    • Then layer the red gelatin mix onto the pan and cool off for 15mins, repeat steps when alternating colors
    • Garnish with whipped topping
    • Add cherry and mint leafs for the finish touch

2. Pita Tree Appetizers

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  • Ingredients:
    • Pita bread, pretzel sticks, sour cream, guacamole, red bell pepper
  • Directions:
    • Cut each pita into 8 wedges then insert pretzel stick, spread guacamole mixture, sprinkle bell pepper as “ornaments”, and enjoy your Christmas Pita Tree

3. Melting Snowman on a Cookie

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  • Ingredients:
    • Cookie dough, marshmallow, frosting
  • Directions:
    • Click on the image above for the detailed list

4. Peppermint Candy Christmas Ornaments

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  •  Ingredients:
    • Peppermint candies
  • Directions:
    • Preheat oven to 350F
    • Spray the inside of each cookie cutter with cooking spray
    • Layer the peppermints inside the cookie cutters
    • Place the baking pan inside the oven for 3-9 minutes
    • Once removed, let the candy sit inside cookie cutter until it re-hardens.
    • Use tooth-pick to make a hole in each group of candies
    • Tie a ribbon onto your ornament and let it hang on a tree

5. Watermelon Christmas Trees

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  • Ingredients:
    • ¼ fresh watermelon (quartered lengthways)
  • Directions:
    • Once the watermelon is cut into slices, trim the rind on both sides and leave the middle attached
    • Then cut a 40 degree triangle on both edges of the flesh to create a Christmas Tree effect

6. Sundae Snowman

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  • Ingredients:
    • Large marshmallow (snowman head), 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream (snowman body), red licorice twists (arms), chocolate chips (buttons), chocolate icing in a tube (eyes & mouth)

7. Santa Strawberries

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  • Ingredients:
    • Strawberries, whipped cream, poppy seeds
  • Directions:
    • Cut-off the top of the strawberries
    • Then slice a small piece off the other end of the berries
    • Top whip cream and sandwich the other end
    • Add two poppy seeds for the eyes

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Don’t miss this season’s special offer. Click on the image above to claim your Free* Roku® Streaming Stick®

Phone Message Film Releases Today, WATCH IT HERE NOW!

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     Recording a voicemail has become a New Age pressure. These seemingly little recordings require thoughtful preparation, the right wording, appropriate timing, and have the capability of inciting profound conversations. Perceived as simply mechanical and emotionless, answering machines unconsciously expose secrets, share moments, confront rejection, extend invitations and help us stay connected to friends and family. A voicemail can also be a valuable tool to help us communicate a message that isn’t always easy in person; the kind of message that will undoubtedly change the life of the recipient. In the case of our new SpiritClips original film Phone Message, a message can become a beautiful gift both left and received by two people.

     Phone Message is a short film about April Hart, a young woman who was adopted at birth by loving parents, who reveals her tribulations of leaving the perfect voicemail in an attempt to contact her biological mother for the first time. April Hart was focused on exploring her curiosities and taking a risk, which is an essential part of growing up. She begins her quest of self-discovery by recovering her past to build a platform for creating her future. SpiritClips coworkers, Director, Cristina Malavenda and Writer, Iliana Guevara, came up with the premise of the storyline formulated by a challenge to develop a captivating real time, three-minute film.

After interviewing Iliana Guevara, it was apparent the heart and soul shining behind Phone Message directly corresponded to her belief in the underlying power of the storylines motif. Guevara wanted to share an experience of what it would be like to initiate conversation with someone after a long period of silence and investigate the curiosities adoption may lead some young adults to solving. Extensive research on adoption and technology communication studies played an impactful role on how the script was written and how the film was directed. The situation is realistically portrayed and leads viewers to “put [themselves] in April Heart’s shoes”, states Guevara.

The premise of the film focuses on gaining the confidence it takes to commit to following through with a life changing decision. Staying positive and believing in the benefits of your situation outweighing any loss is also an important theme in the film. Maintaining self-belief that we are strong enough to withstand possible emotional repercussions due to taking a leap of faith is an awareness that should be encouraged.

When asked what viewers should take away from watching Phone Message, Rob Fried, SpiritClips CEO and acclaimed film Producer, replied

“It is possible to give a gift to a child that can last a lifetime in just one moment. Parenting is a long-term commitment and consistently an ongoing, daily effort. A real “parent” is someone who is there.”

Fried also noted that there are important events in every child’s life that become a transformative moment shared between child and parent. Loving reinforcements embraced with support by family members help build strong, everlasting ties. Sometimes these ties are initiated late in life, as in April Hart’s case. She was given two gifts from her mother the moment she was born. One, being her genetic musical talents and two, a specific melody that later in life became the basis for her career. Rob Fried was excited to support Phone Message because of the beautiful story it shared.

Overall, the goal of SpiritClips is to share stories of hope and inspiration. Fried is confident in his staff having “amazing, young filmmakers working to change lives for the better”. He noted that there are commonalities between all the employees at SpiritClips; they are driven to encourage others and all possess the same positive mentality. SpiritClips original productions are all uniquely interesting topics that appeal to Fried and are pure, as well as heartening. Launching SpiritClips granted a spirit of freedom that allowed Fried to showcase his personal sensibility without the influence of the “Hollywood Machine” dictating what to show the public masses. Phone Message is just one of the many great original films created at SpiritClips, so please click the link below to watch April Hart’s destiny. It debuts today, October 29.

I encourage you to share this film and its message with your friends, family and loved ones.

Phone Message Film

Discussions and topics that you can open related to this blog post;

– Modes of communication and their differences.
– The social impact of the cell phone.
– Are voicemails too impersonal or more thoughtful than a text, email and letter?

Four Immortal Chaplains Leave One Everlasting Message

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    Four Chaplains Writer and Director, James Hernandez, a SpiritClips film editor, teamed with our in-house writer, John Dion, to create a moving three minute motion graphic documentary about a tragic yet courageous saga of four heroic men. Debuting this Friday, October 18, 2013, Four Chaplains depicts the catastrophe of a U.S. Army transport ship that was torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II.

Hernandez developed a desire for constructing the storyline, initially sparked by Dion’s idea for the film, due to his interest in the history and underlying interfaith religious undertones. Each of the four Chaplains, all ranked as first Lieutenants, varied in faith and background but communally shared a selfless dedication to saving lives aboard the sinking ship. Throughout the pandemonium aboard the dark, moonlit U.S.A.T. Dorchester, Methodist minister George Fox, Reform-Rabbi Alexander Goode, Reformed Church of America minister Clark Poling and Roman Catholic priest John Washington stood shining among the frightened passengers calmly assisting in the evacuation of the other 900 soldiers and civilians. Once the battle seemed to be overcome by the frigid North Atlantic waters, the four Chaplains linked arms, sang encouraging hymns and not only sacrificed their own life vests to four other helpless young men, but ultimately sacrificed their lives.

The tale of these men can be summed up in the memorials mission statement,

“to further the cause of unity without uniformity’ by encouraging goodwill and cooperation among all people”.

Accounts from the 230 survivors summarized grandiose disbelief and genuine gratitude of these four honored Chaplains because they brought hope in despair and light in darkness. Keeping the powerful stories from those who endured the wrath of this calamity in mind, SpiritClips realized what a beautiful message had been born from the disaster. Our production team took the necessary steps to make sure the story would be conveyed with as much passion as the Chaplains possessed and the survivors still carry with them today. Traveling to the memorial located in the former South Philadelphia Naval Yard, photographs were taken, recounts were duly noted and informational brochures were collected as source material to ensure a truthful representation for the filming. Since May, production has grown from planning, filming, execution and today it’s release. Please enjoy the short film and the touching, inspirational message behind the documentary. Do something, even if it’s slightly impactful, to better someone’s life today. Share positivity and encourage the influences of how far a small act of kindness can go.

Click the link below to watch Four Chaplains:

Four Chaplains

If you don’t already, please follow us on Facebook for updates and encouraging words. Also, visit www.spiritclips.com to sign up for a membership to be sent weekly heartwarming, thought provoking and inspirational original short films created by SpiritClips.

Congratulate Your Special Graduate

Want to congratulate your special graduate? How about a SpiritClips Original Ecard…

Dante Rossetti and an Old Man

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th-century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man. The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent.

Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless, showing not the least sign of artistic talent. But Rossetti was a kind man, and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man. The visitor was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment.

He then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but would he just look at a few more drawings – these done by a young art student? Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. “These,” he said, “oh, these are good. This young student has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future if he will work hard and stick to it.”

Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. “Who is this fine young artist?” he asked. “Your son?” “No,” said the old man sadly. “It is me – 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up – too soon.”

The Elephant Rope

The Elephant Rope

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.

Daniel the Dog Defies Death

On October 3rd five year old Daniel the dog was sentenced to his death along with 18 other dogs in an overcrowded animal shelter in Florence, Alabama.  When the animal control officer came back to the locked gas chamber when the operation was complete, he found Daniel waiting at the door wagging his tail.  All of the other dogs were dead. Not only was Daniel alive, he was completely healthy.

His story has caused several charity groups come to his side to make sure he is never sent back the the gas chambers.  His new foster parents named him Daniel after the biblical story of Daniel, who walked out of a lion’s den completely unharmed.   Now that Daniel has reached celebrity status he will have no problem finding a permanent home and has hundreds of applicants wishing to adopt him.

You can read the complete story here.

Mom Earns College Degree 23 yrs after Memory Loss

23 years ago Su Meck was in a freak accident that seemed like something that could only happen in a movie.  After being struck by a ceiling fan she was left with retrograde amnesia, a condition which kept her completely unable to remember the past.  She had absolutely no recollection of her sons, her husband, or any of the past 22 years of her life.  After the accident she was left at the level of a toddler and had to spend 2 months in the hospital learning basic tasks and reading.

The first part of her road to recovery was very difficult.  She awoke each morning unable to remember who the people in her house were.  She would look at photos of her own childhood and not remember any of it.  Meck started using education as a way to battle her confusion.  In order to regain her reading skills, she started volunteering at the school library, where she would learn along with her children.  Three years ago she started taking remedial math and sociology classes at Montgomery College, utilizing the help of her children who were also in college. She recently received her associate’s degree and even graduated with honors proving that perseverance can help overcome almost any challenge in life.

You can read the full story here.

100 Year Old Marathoner Finishes Race

100 year old  Fauja Singh proves that age is just a number and sets no limitations.  He became the oldest person to finish a full distance marathon this past Sunday in Toronto, which gained him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.  As he neared the finish line family, friends and supporters gathered to congratulate him.  Furthermore, he completed the race beating his original prediction, which only added to his joy. This was Singh’s eighth marathon, his first being completed when he was 89.  Singh has no plans of slowing down in the near future; he hopes his next project will be as a participant in the 2012 London Games torch relay.

You can read the full story here

New York Says Thank You

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On September 11, I was in Los Angeles. I woke up from my dad’s phone call, who told me to turn on the TV. He was calling from Armenia. The world was watching…

I remember how during those tragic days, the world came together. New York, out of a sudden, became a home for people who were one, who loved and supported each other. For New York residents the outpouring of kindness from total strangers was a bright spot in the city’s darkest hours, one that Evan and his dad Jeff would not forget.

Evan was 3 years old on September 11. His dad Jeff had lost a close friend in the World Trade Center attacks. Two years later, Evan, then 5, was fighting with his 3-year-old brother, Josh, about who deserved a new stuffed bear their dad had given them to share. When the argument subsided, Evan sat down with his dad to watch news reports of wildfires in Southern California. “There was this little girl on the news, and her house got burned down — her whole house wasn’t there,” says Evan, still sounding shocked by the realization. “I was thinking, ‘That girl has nothing and we’re fighting over this stupid toy. Why do we even need it?'”
Evan offered to donate his own toys, which only moments before had seemed so important to him, to the young victims of the wildfires. Maybe it was a flicker of the memory of so many people coming from across the country to help New York City right after Sept. 11 that made Evan do it. For Jeff, it was more than a flicker. It was his way of returning a huge favor. Jeff enlisted New Yorkers around the city to join in the donations. Four days and almost 100 volunteers later, Jeff was driving a U-Haul truck across the country with a special delivery for victims of the California wildfires. Across the side of the truck he placed a banner that read, “New York Says Thank You.”

You can read more about this volunteer organization at www.news.yahoo.com